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Serie A heavyweights head-to-head

50-50 Challenge 6 days ago
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 By Ben Gladwell
Aug 18, 2014

Inzaghi vows AC Milan will improve

Antonio Conte was named Italy's new manager, Tata Martino takes the helm for Argentina and goalkeeper Diego Lopez signs with AC Milan.

Filippo Inzaghi has pledged that AC Milan fans will see a "different team entirely" to the side that was plagued by mistakes during an underwhelming preseason campaign.

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The Rossoneri finished eighth in Serie A last season, missing out on European football for the first time since 1998-99, and responded by installing Inzaghi as coach in place of Clarance Seedorf.

However, a 2-1 defeat to Valencia on Sunday evening was just the latest in a string of worrying preseason results: Milan were also beaten 3-0 by Olympiakos, 5-1 by Manchester City and 2-0 by Liverpool, with their only respite coming in a 3-0 victory over Chivas.

"Right now, I'm just focusing on our performances and they have been good," Inzaghi told the club's official wesite after Sunday's defeat in Spain. "We were on a par with Valencia tonight and I'll dwell on the performance, not the result.

"Compared to 20 days ago, we're now a different team entirely. When the season starts, we won't be making mistakes. Our most important game is the one against Lazio."

Two of those mistakes were made by new signing Diego Lopez, who had a debut to forget between the posts. After being lobbed from 45 yards by Paco Alcacer, the former Real Madrid goalkeeper was then beaten inside his near post by Rodrigo as Christian Abbiati -- the man he replaced -- watched on from the bench.

While Milan have been struggling, Fiorentina have underlined their title credentials with some outstanding results, including a 2-1 win over Champions League holders Real Madrid on Saturday.

In a classification of all 20 Serie A clubs, taking into account all their preseason matches and adjusting for the difficulty of the opposition, the Viola come out on top, ahead of Napoli.

Roma have also beaten Real Madrid this summer, thanks to the indomitable Francesco Totti, and they rank fourth in La Gazzetta's table with promoted Palermo in third. Inter Milan, Lazio and Hellas Verona follow in that order.

The accuracy of such a league is disputable, however, with Torino bottom and Juventus second from the foot, due largely to their defeat to an amateur side on their first outing and the fact their games against representative XIs in Australia, Indonesia and Singapore are not considered.

Torino for their part have shown superior form when it matters, defeating Swedish side Brommapojkarna 7-0 on aggregate in the Europa League third qualifying round.

Cagliari, who would also be in a relegation zone based on preseason results, have more cause for concern on the other hand. A 3-1 defeat to Getafe was followed by a 4-0 loss at Celta Vigo on Sunday.

"It's normal at this time of the year, even if it would always be better to avoid such results," said their coach Zdenek Zeman on the Sardinian club's website. "We've worked hard on our physical condition, now we need to work on our mentality.

"This game will serve as a lesson for how to apply ourselves better. It was an ugly game."

The Serie A season starts in just under a fortnight's time with Juve travelling to Chievo on Aug. 30, followed by Roma hosting Fiorentina.

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